If you want to attract good talent to your organization, you’ve got to get your website messaging right. Think of your site as your company’s front door. The right message can be the difference between a candidate staying or turning around.
To attract great employees, highlight the wrong you’re going to right in the world, and invite folks into that. It doesn’t matter if the problem you’re solving seems lofty or boring. What matters is that you identify the problem (and solution) and communicate it with crystal clarity. And the way to do this is to share your Guiding Principles.
What are guiding principles?
Guiding principles are statements that clarify what’s important to you and how you act upon these values. There are five components:
1. Mission Statement
We’re all familiar with mission statements (and, if you’re like us, you sometimes roll your eyes at them). To craft a mission statement that actually inspires, make sure it uses plain language, is memorable, and outlines a real problem and solution.
2. Key Characteristics
These should be bullet points that describe the kinds of people who work at your company.
3. Critical Actions
Critical Actions describe what it will be like to work with you. What specific things do people do to accomplish your mission?
4. Story Pitch
This is a (slightly) longer explanation of the value that your company provides. It should have all the elements of a great story: setup, a real problem, a solution, and the result.
Your Theme should be your most memorable statement of what you do. It’s a chance to paint a picture of what it all means.
Example: Full Windsor’s Guiding Principles
To illustrate what all this looks like, we thought we’d pull the curtain back and share our very own Guiding Principles.
Why do we exist?
At Full Windsor, we make sure websites work for people. So often, websites are confusing, complicated, and cause expensive problems. Our services make websites friendly for both site visitors and managers, so you save time and can do your best work.
What are people who work here like?
Empathetic: We mentally put ourselves in the shoes of people using our websites.
Playful: We seek to engage in deep play by remaining curious, experimental, and accepting.
Clear: We believe the best experiences both inform and delight.
What’s it like to work here?
We use exclamation marks: We express positivity when communicating with clients and each other.
We learn: We are constantly learning new coding techniques and best practices.
We’re wise with our processes: We regularly follow and revise our company systems.
What value do we bring the people we serve?
Websites are time-consuming and complicated. This causes a lot of frustration for site managers and even leaves them feeling like they are unable to do their job well. They know what they need their website to do but can’t make it happen.
We’ve developed a service that brings people’s ideas to life and makes their website easier to manage on a day-to-day basis.
As a result, website managers breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their website is working for them, not against them.
Why is our mission important?
If websites are designed for people, businesses both save and make more money, and people are empowered to do their best work.
Make it visual
A bonus tip on top of all this: When implementing this on your own website, don’t just share your Guiding Principles as plain text. To get your message across, good design and imagery is essential! Among other things, this means establishing a good visual hierarchy and creatively varying the layouts you choose.
Bring the right people on board
People are drawn to confidence. By communicating clearly what you’re all about and how you’ll get there, your organization becomes a place others want to be a part of.
Credit where credit is due: Once again, we’re indebted to Donald Miller and his Business Made Simple University course for inspiring these ideas. Big thanks to him and his team for sharing such powerful and practical concepts.